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The sudden and massive shift to a work-from-home workforce has left millions of employees ill-prepared to handle the new cybersecurity challenges they face, a new study has found.

Though many people had no previous work-at-home experience until this year, they were sent home to navigate the security quagmire of using their own personal laptop and mobile devices as well as new videoconferencing services largely without guidance on security issues from their employers, a new survey (PDF) from IBM Security found.

This is even though the majority of people who went to work from home believed that their organization could keep personal identifiable information (PII) secure while they were working remotely, the survey found.

The company polled 2,001 adults in the United States between June 4 and June 7 who are newly working from home due to COVID-19, and found that 93 percent of them didn’t particularly worry about data security when they made the transition.

However, responses show that remote workers who didn’t have much experience working from home before the lockdown pose a major security risk that companies did not try to solve, basically sending them home to fend for themselves.

Fifty-three percent of those polled said they are using their own personal devices for work–including both their own laptops and mobile devices–and 90 percent are conducting business over their home networks. However, this activity is done often without any new security protections in place, the survey found.

Moreover, 45 percent of those surveyed said they did not receive any new training to move their work to their home environment, even though 83 percent reported that working from home was not a typical practice for them prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey found.
 
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